Nunavut has two new midwives.
At a ceremony in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut yesterday, Heather Omilgoitok and Shelly O'Gorman became the first two graduates from the Kitikmeot region to complete the three-year program offered by Nunavut Arctic College.
Omilgoitok says she's excited to start "catching babies" in Cambridge Bay.
“They say if a community doesn't have birth to celebrate what do they celebrate? In the community, the buzz and the excitement when there is a birth here is amazing.”
Omilgoitok and O'Gordon will be working with pregnant women throughout the region, helping to deliver babies and offering pre- and post-natal care.
“I fell in love with the whole birthing experience and the pre-natal care and all of the care that midwives support,” O’Gorman says.
Students of the midwifery program learn about the cultural, spiritual and traditional practices of Inuit midwives. They also have to meet the standards set by the Canadian Midwifery Regulatory Committee.
Becca Rappr was one of the instructors.
“These are women from this community who are highly invested in this community,” Rappr says. “Shelly was born and raised here. Heather has lived here for 27 years. They're staying. The purpose of the program is to graduate women who will stay in their communities.”
This is the second midwifery program offered by Arctic College since the Nunavut Government passed the Midwifery Protection Act in 2009. The first was run in Rankin Inlet.
Nunavut MP and federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was at the graduation.